Ticket sales for Anne of Green Gables: The Musical are up 85 per cent at the Charlottetown Festival this summer, but the festival would like to see better numbers from the second production on the main stage.
Anne came to the stage this year with a new set, new lighting design and new choreography. There was some controversy in the spring over changing Canada's longest running musical, but, three weeks into the summer season, the audience appears to have made its decision.
"We're thrilled," Penny Walsh McGuire, director of marketing for the festival, told CBC News Tuesday.
"What's even greater is we're just entering into what we'd call the peak of the tourism season."
About 75 per cent of the audience for Anne comes from out of province, and that audience appears to have a level of trust that the Confederation Centre of the Arts can make Anne better.
"The centre's done an excellent job with the production," said Ruth Lambert, who was buying her tickets Tuesday.
"I've heard good things about the new one, so I'm keen to see what they've done to revamp it."
Half full houses for Monty
While the new Anne of Green Gables has been surpassing expectations at the box office, The Full Monty has been a harder sell.
A musical about unemployed miners who plan a strip show to make some cash, The Full Monty has sold 200 to 300 fewer tickets each night than Anne. The festival was hoping for 550 seats a night but is coming up about 100 short of that.
While there is no actual nudity in the production, it is rated R, and so is a stark contrast to the family-oriented Anne of Green Gables.
Tourist Maddy Ivy summed up her beliefs regarding the slower ticket sales.
"This is Anne of Green Gables country, not The Full Monty," she said.
McGuire acknowledges The Full Monty has been tougher to sell to an audience more accustomed to Anne, but she believes the show has a good chance of building audiences over the next few weeks.
"I think that it's taking a bit for our audiences to understand it's not just about the stripping in the full Monty, that there's a great storyline there," she said.
"Those that are attending are truly enjoying it and the feedback that has been coming in [is] so strong."
Both The Full Monty and Anne of Green Gables: The Musical run till the end of August.